Finding Joy in Fitness! Check out the tips from Jessica's segment on Mass Appeal!
Live, In-Person Kickboxing at Serenity Yoga info here
Foam Rolling for Fitness on Mass Appeal
Meet The Instructor
Quick Facts on Jessica
Taught fitness classes for over 25 years
Personal Trainer Certification (NSCA-CPT)
ACE Group Fitness Certification
SCW Pilates & Barre Certification
Get To Know Jessica
My love of fitness started with my first gym membership at 16 years old. I started taking group exercise classes to stay in shape off season on my high school gymnastics team. I immediately fell in love with classes and became a “groupie”, attending classes daily. One day, during a step class, the instructor wanted everyone to yell “GRRRR!!!” during a power squat. At 16 and in a room full of other people, there was no way I was going to do that! The instructor then said, “if you don’t say GRRRRR with me, you’ll teach this class!” I called her bluff and stayed silent. You guessed it – she wasn’t bluffing. She pointed at me, in the back of the room and said, “YOU - you’re not doing it! Get up here and teach the cooldown.” With everyone looking at me, I proceeded to make my way to the front of the room and I taught the cooldown. After that moment, I was hooked! The Group Exercise Director took me under her wing and began training me in her free time. Once I was ready to teach on my own, the owner of the gym refused to hire me because I was only 17. The Group Exercise Director convinced him to take a chance on me, and that was the beginning of my journey.
At this point, I was a senior in high school, and thinking about my future plans. I told my parents that I wanted to do something with fitness, and my mom said, “What? Are you going to be a gym rat?” To which I said, “No. That sounds terrible.” So instead of pursuing a college degree in fitness, physical therapy, athletics, sports management, or any other related field, I got a degree in business from Bay Path University. After graduating Salutatorian, I worked in business for 5 miserable years, still teaching classes on the side. I hated my profession. It was then that I skipped out of the corporate world and jumped in with two feet into corporate wellness. It was an easy transition since I already had a business background and I had a particular “knack” for knowing what busy, office workers were dealing with physically and mentally. I spent 9 years in corporate fitness, eventually managing the largest corporate fitness center in Western Massachusetts with 1,600 members, a direct staff of 17, and 100 group fitness class offerings per month. Not bad for a gym rat, right? During this time I took Exercise Science courses at Springfield College, acquired my personal training certification as well as multiple group exercise certifications. I attended fitness conventions in New York City, Boston, Rhode Island, and along the coast of Maine and always had my nose in a fitness journal or a book about eating or exercise.
The hours were tough at this job – opening the gym at 5:30 am or closing at 7:00 pm – even tougher as I had two little kids and my husband had a demanding job also. It was then that I decided that I had to step away from my dream job. I cried when I gave my resignation.
A year later, we decided to have another child and I began working at Mount Holyoke College as a fitness instructor. One class became two, then five, then I was asked to teach the P.E. Pilates course to the students for P.E. credit and then P.E. Yoga too. At one point, I was teaching 16 classes a week at MHC – to the students, faculty, and staff; morning, noon, and night; 6 days a week. In March of 2020, I was furloughed from MHC until September of 2021 at the earliest. That’s when I created Online Fitness Rx bringing the live, group exercise experience to participants in their homes. Online Fitness Rx now has clients that join from all over the world including Peru, Venice, Hawaii, Mozambique, and all over the continental United States. Participants come together to form this amazing community and sweat and stretch. We “see” each other’s fur babies, celebrate each other’s accomplishments and birthdays, and most importantly we cheer each other on.
I like to keep my classes fun, with a playful and exploratory atmosphere, no matter if it’s a vigorous conditioning class or a slower-paced restorative yoga class. I strongly believe in offering modifications for inclusivity, and my classes have a strong focus on alignment and posture with an emphasis on strengthening the core.